Country Cleaver

Cookin' My Way Back to the Country

Candy Apple Popcorn Balls and Perspective on Blogging

I sincerely hope that none of you have braces, crowns, fillings that are loose, or some aversion to candy coating. That would be unfortunate. And since this little treat has the entire line up of potential arch nemsis-is-is-es to said dental work – I warn you, and can’t be held responsible.

As someone that dealt with a decades worth of orthodontia in my formative years, I am making up for lost time.

Why can’t Halloween have an advent calendar like Christmas? I think all awesome holidays like Christmas should get equal treatment – and equality in candy calendars and countdowns. If it were possible to shove an entire one of these into one of those little calendar nooks, I would. This would also be day number 31 when the last and final advent window is opened and all massive ray of light shines forth in holiday countdown glory.


In other news – I could have used one of these today after a post-work apocalyptic girly meltdown that culminated in me planking onto the bed as soon as a got home to be consoled by an over excited labradork with multiple tennis balls and equally adoring and compassionate Ben.

Thanks to Ben and his eternally realistic perspective on all life things, a hug and a few words of advice worked like a charm.

Since starting this blog, a little over two years ago, I’ve met some of the most generous, kind and hilarious men and women on the planet. I’ve been fortunate enough to have chatted with readers who have become friends, learned new skills in photography, been lucky enough to be asked by friends for advice, teamed up with fellow bloggers for good causes, been on TV, and been to some really, really cool places.

But in that 15 minutes of melt down all I could rationalize was that I was an utter failure at what I do here on this site.

Why would anybody read this site? They shouldn’t have asked me for advice! Who am I to give it? *CUE PANIC*

How irrational, manic, and frankly narrow minded of me. And Ben… patient man that he is, never shied away from the ugly lemon-faced tears, just gave me that hug and that moment to come back to reality with this…

NO Blogger is ever a failure. EVER. Never, ever.

Somedays we all need that reality check and to have someone tell us to not compare yourself to the other bloggers out there. Numbers and statistics matter to companies, but they don’t matter to each other. We, as a community, should strive to be there for one another to help one another grow. We work on our craft at our own speed and we all have varied success. One viral recipe doesn’t make or break us.

And most of all – the success of others does NOT define others as failures.

Think back to when you started your blog. Why did you do it? For fun? A cookbook? A Tv show? A column in the local paper or to just have place in the world wide web for your recipes to have a home? I started it for fun – and am continually amazed at the cool crap and even cooler people I’ve met. It’s already exceeded all expectations -and that is something no one should lose sight of.

Realign your thinking, reevaluate, reassess, and get back to the basics – the FUN of this adventure.

I have learned that we all need friends to ask questions to, to bounce ideas off of, and to pick the brains of one another. So find “your person”, your mentor, your friend and don’t be afraid of to ask the questions, learn the tips and tricks, and share the knowledge and perspective you all have.

Venturing out into the world wide web is a scary prospect, leaving yourself someone vulnerable to the opinions of others and what they may want, say or think. And it is vital and of the upmost importance to support one another, sugar highs, and emotional lows. We might be individual blogs – but we’re all intertwined together.

So tell me – are you looking for a blogging friend? Leave a comment below. Let’s team up, find a blogging buddy and tackle the lingering questions and navigate the labyrinth of this thing we do called blogging. Meet a new person, visit a new blog, learn new techniques – and enjoy all of the creativity we each have to offer one another.

Thus endith the emotional roller coaster. Now – go have a candy apple popcorn thingy. Like a lollipop after the doctor’s office, a little dose of sugar always makes things better.

Candy Apple Popcorn Balls

spiced apple and popcorn balls dipped in traditional candy apple coating

Yield: 9

Prep Time: 45 Minutes

Cook Time: 30 Minuts

Total Time: 1 Hour and 15 Minutes

PrintPrint Recipe


Candy Coating:
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Extract
Red Food Coloring

Spiced Apple Popcorn Balls
2 Bags Natural Flavored Microwave Popcorn, popped
1 bag (10 oz) Mini-marshmallows
6 Tbsp Butter, melted + extra for hands
1 tsp Cinnamon
β…› tsp Nutmeg
1 ΒΌ cup Dried Apples, chopped

8-10 sticks for Popcorn Balls


Popcorn Balls:
Set out a large baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.
In large pot, melt butter and whisk in cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in mini-marshmallows and stir to melt. Pour in 2 bags of popcorn (try and not get un-popped kernels into the mix) and chopped dried apples. Using a non-stick spatula, fold marshmallows, popcorn and apples together. Rub some extra butter onto your hands and clump large handfuls (about apple sized) popcorn mixture together and mold into apple-like shapes. Set aside, repeat with remaining popcorn mixture.

For Candy Coating:
In a medium sauce pan, melt sugar, corn syrup and water together. Bring to a rapid boil and while monitoring temperature with a candy thermometer - bring the mixture to 300 degrees. Stir constantly. Gently dip each stick for the popcorn balls into the candy coating and stick into the middle of each popcorn ball. Here, add in the cinnamon extract and food coloring and stir to incorporate. CAREFULLY dip in each popcorn ball into the candy coating, and place back onto sprayed baking sheet to cool. Repeat with all popcorn balls. Allow to cool completely.
When candy has hardened, and cool - devour.

Candy coating recipe original source - Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Candy Coating Recipe from Cookbook Queen




55 Responses to “Candy Apple Popcorn Balls and Perspective on Blogging”

  1. #
    Rina@Itheecook — October 3, 2012 @ 4:12 am

    Well said Megan! Sometimes we all need a lil meltdown here and there. I think its totally normal!

  2. #
    Blog is the New Black — October 3, 2012 @ 4:37 am

    These look great!!!!

    And, well put! Hang in there! πŸ˜‰

  3. #
    Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) — October 3, 2012 @ 4:58 am

    I am so glad you posted this for so many reasons. 1. Because now I know I am not the only person that comes home and spends the evening planking on the bed after a long day. 2. Because you are right, we all have that feeling. I feel like a failure more times than not. 3. Because these popcorn candy apples are genius, to die for, something I must have NOW!

  4. #
    Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray — October 3, 2012 @ 5:30 am

    Such true words!! Thanks for the reminder that the numbers (like so many things in life) are not what matters. πŸ™‚ I hope you had a cookie to help with the lemon face!

  5. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — October 3, 2012 @ 5:49 am

    This…amen, girl. Very well said. sending you a virtual hug across the country πŸ™‚ I’ve definitely been there before too, it’s not a fun feeling. Thankfully, someone rationale usually pulls me out of that funk pretty quickly. It’s very easy to get caught up in it all though!

  6. #
    Mal @ The Chic Geek — October 3, 2012 @ 6:41 am

    Oh my goodness, these are so adorable, and they look absolutely delicious!

    Virtual hug from me as well on the rest of the post, I totally hear ya

  7. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — October 3, 2012 @ 6:56 am

    THESE ROCK!!!! so cute for Halloween. And I couldn’t agree more. I had such an internal struggle this morning and I totally get it. It’s really hard to do what we do and it’s hard NOT to compare ourselves to others successes. Just because one person had something amazing happen doesn’t mean that won’t happen to us, you know?

  8. #
    NanaBread (Jeanne) — October 3, 2012 @ 7:58 am

    There, there… it will be okay. Besides, you should know that many of us hold you up as an example of what we’d like to be as bloggers. You are, quite simply, amazing and a touchstone for many of us. So grab a candied popcorn ball or a few pumpkin kisses and get back out there. Your spunky, creative enthusiasm is our inspiration. Now… how wants a popcorn ball? I do! I do!

  9. #
    Kat — October 3, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    I’m co-signing with Jeanne. You are not, and have never been in my eyes, a failure. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, but that is what the important people in our lives our for.

    I consider myself so incredibly lucky to have met you through some sort of cyber-kismet that I still don’t fully understand. In my book and in the books of so many others, you darling are a mountain-mover. It is a privilege to read your words and stories and to come into your kitchen.


    p.s. In honor of the Halloween Advent Calendar we do not actually have, I pledge to eat Candy Corn every single day.

  10. #
    Cassie — October 3, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    L.O.V.E. this! I was just talking the other day about why I had originally started my blog because I wanted to post a recipe that there are thousands of out in the interwebs…except my blog didn’t have one yet, and so I posted it, not because the internet needed another chili recipe, but because I wanted to document my chili recipe. You are so right – it’s all about realigning the focus. You are amazing and so right in this!

  11. #
    Ashley — October 3, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    Like everyone else, I feel you and have totally been there. Heck, I’m still there all the time, thinking “why would anyone read my blog? there’s so much I need to improve to make it even passable!” But you and so many others are our inspiration to continue working on this blogging thing we love. So thank you for the inspiration! You rock! And hopefully some tips/tricks or learned lessons!

  12. #
    Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel — October 3, 2012 @ 8:59 am

    You are amazing and make delicious, droolworthy food… that’s why people read!! πŸ˜‰

  13. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — October 3, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    CLEARLY, we are blogging friends together πŸ™‚ we will have a very good drive down to PDX this weekend, my friend. we will inspire each other and talk and hug it out and cry (maybe) and LOVEEE xoxox

  14. #
    Jenny — October 3, 2012 @ 9:13 am

    These look totally irresistible. My daughter with braces won’t be able to have them. Sometimes my candy apples get stuck to the aluminum foil, I think I need to to use thicker foil.

  15. #
    Linda @ My Foodgasm Journal — October 3, 2012 @ 9:27 am

    You’re a rock star! I’d love to halloween all year long (minus costumes so I don’t need to stock up my wardrobe). And yes, I’m looking for blogging friend (and would love to have you as my mentor, too)!

  16. #

    Well said Megan! Every once and I while I need to step back and remind myself why I started blogging and this above all that this is a hoby that I enjoy! And blogging friends make all the difference πŸ™‚ It’s so nice to connect with other people who have passion for the same things you do (they just “get it”!)

  17. #
    Christina — October 3, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    Thanks Megan, I’ve been doing my blog for over a year now and I have been in a real funk for a little while. Generally just an inferiority complex and a lot of what you expressed in your post. Finding a blogging buddy would be great. I appreciate you talking about your mini-meltdown because I’m sure there are a lot of us out there that struggle with self-doubt.

  18. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — October 3, 2012 @ 9:45 am

    I think everyones goals change over time and I know that’s not necessarily what this post is about but it’s funny to think how far we’ve all come since we started. And I agree that we need to support each other and help each other out when possible. You’re doing fantastic and I’m glad to have *met* you πŸ˜‰

  19. #
    Amy @ The Nifty Foodie — October 3, 2012 @ 10:10 am

    Oh, I love this post!

    It’s so crazy how things have changed in the blogging community. Four years ago, so many bloggers I knew just took pictures under a regular light with a regular camera and we just simply saw it as a way to share recipes with one another. It was REALLY different then…I don’t even think many bloggers I knew had ads!

    I agree that blogging should never feel competitive, because we’re all different. We each have stories and recipes to share, and there’s always room for more bloggers in our (not so) little community. πŸ™‚ I feel like I’m hugging a fluffy cloud with tons of glitter and rainbows with this comment, but I love blogging (that’s why I do it…I have a day job & this is my hobby), and truly appreciate the friendships I’ve gained from it. πŸ™‚

  20. #
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits — October 3, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    I have had the exact same panic. To which my husband pointed out that some of the “full time, this is my job” bloggers are really just married to rich guys so they say “I’m a full time blogger” instead of “I’m a house wife” but that doesn’t mean they make a HUGE income. Which is FINE, totally, but one persons idea of “I Blog Full Time” might not be what MINE is. That helped me, because I do make an income from my blogs, but it isn’t big enough for me to give up my real life work which I make a lot more from and is easy and I love. OK, sort of a weird tangent. But we’re friends so I can do that πŸ˜‰
    Oh, and I am totally pining the crap out of this post right now.

  21. #
    Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies — October 3, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

    Needed this today. I ALWAYS need blogging friends!! I probably would have given up if my husband hadn’t forced me to get some perspective. (He still does it, at least twice a week.)

    • Megan replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 9:11 am

      HOORAY for blogging friends! You got a friend in me, Jen! High five. And a high five for your husband – they really have a way of grounding and helping us bring everything back into perspective. Or else I have a feeling I’d be in a constant state of blogging-panic.

  22. #
    Brooke (Crackers on the Couch) — October 3, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

    My struggle lies less in whether people read my blog (they don’t) or whether I will be the next Ree Drummond (I won’t) but more in the time I spend on it and not focusing on my kids. If it were my job it would make sense. If I were making a penny from it, even. But really it’s just a hobby. An incredible, delicious, time-sucking hobby. And my guilt walks into the room on a regular basis tattling and demanding band-aids. I guess I’m struggling to make it “worth” it somehow. Hello, My name is Brooke and I’m a blogaholic… Hah! Also, those popcorn balls and simply beautiful!

    • Megan replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 9:10 am

      Hi Brooke! Well you’re in good company, ’cause we’re all blogaholics in this place haha. Balancing all of the responsibilities of blogging, family, job, babies, family, and life is probably the most difficult thing I’ve done too – and like you said, when the guilt walks into the room with sad seal eyes, it’s hard not to feel a tug in your gut about all that you do. You’ll find the balance. We all will. πŸ™‚ ~Megan

  23. #
    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes — October 3, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

    Looovvveeee this post for SO many reasons! Popcorn balls = excellent snacking. And I think it’s the constancy of blogging that can make it challenging and discouraging at times. But hang in there – best friends are often the best antidote!! πŸ™‚

    • Megan replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 8:59 am

      Meagan – a) I’m glad you liked the popcorn balls 2) I’m so glad that everyone is on the same page with the challenges and joys of blogging. Best friends – blogging friends included – make the ups and downs so much easier to navigate when we can do it all together. πŸ™‚

  24. #
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — October 3, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    I think you struck a cord with all of us fellow bloggers. It’s hard to not get frustrated when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a post and get nothing in return. Believe me, I’ve had my fair share. What matters most is at the end of day. Did you put your best self out there? If you did, then you don’t need to apologize or regret a single thing. I think in these times the best thing you can do is reflect and move on. You know you’re an amazing, strong person with kung fu fighting skills like Chuck Norris. Just smile, relax, and tomorrow is a new day.

    P.S. I’ll take twelve of those candy apple popcorn balls, please?!!!

    • Megan replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 8:57 am

      Oh Lauren, you make me smile. I’m so lucky to know you – and I’m thrilled that this post resonated with everyone. We all have those days – and sometimes it’s hard to be vocal about our misgivings and bad days. But we’re all human and we’ve all been there. We’re so lucky that the blogging community is so supportive of eachother at the end of the day.

  25. #
    Haley — October 3, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    I’ve definitely had those meltdowns! Mine are more related to that my photo quality is terrible because my apartment has no natural light, so I feel like less of a professional blogger (plus my neighbors stare at me weirdly when I take food pictures outside). You are an amazing blogging and I adore your writing and admire your photography! I’m so lucky to have found you via Tasty Kitchen. You are an amazing blogging friend! Xoxo πŸ™‚

    • Megan replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 8:44 am

      Oh Haley, I heart you and miss you like crazy! Thanks so much for all your words, you’ve been a constant presence since I started blogging and I’ll always remember you as one of my first blogging friends. I’m so lucky to know you. And I hear ya – I take some of my photos out on my deck during the winter months – weird stares all the time… haha

  26. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — October 3, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

    We all have meltdowns sometimes, so nice to have a someone supportive to pull you out of it.
    You are so right – we all need friends to help us through this crazy blog thing!!

    • Megan replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 8:27 am

      Hi five for blogging friends! We are all so lucky and I’m so fortunate to know you Erin. You’ve been a constant blogging presence that I draw inspiration from continually. πŸ™‚

  27. #
    Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean — October 3, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

    beautifully written. so true. i love you.

    • Megan replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 8:25 am

      Thanks Lindsay, that means so much. Geez, remember when we started all this stuff? Crazy blogging stuff – and I’m so happy to have known you practically right from the get go of my little blog. I’m so PROUD of everything youv’e done, you’re making a HUGE differnce in people’s lives – I’m truly lucky to know you. I love you, too dollface! XO!

  28. #
    Rachel {studio cuisine} — October 3, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

    Thank you so so much for writing this post. As a new blogger who consistently compares myself to more established bloggers, this meant a lot! I really do need to start looking to the bloggers I admire (like you!) for inspiration and insight, and not envy them so much. Fantastic post, Megan.

    • Megan replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 8:24 am

      Rachel, you are so sweet – thanks so much for your comment. We all start off with one reader, one comment, one piece of love and grow from there. Blogging is a great ride with great friends and I hope we can all grow and flourish together! Keep in touch hun, and I’ll be stopping by your blog for sure! XO!

  29. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — October 3, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

    Ok, first, these are so cool and fun!

    And second, this is such a great post! I think it’s so easy to sometimes forget WHY we all start a blog. There are so many things to get caught up in and it’s important to remember why we blog!

    • Megan replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 8:23 am

      I’m so happy to help remind everyone about why we all got into this blogging thing. It’s so much FUN and the people we’ve met have all been true inspirations. We are all very lucky.

  30. #
    kita — October 4, 2012 @ 7:16 am

    Had to pop over and read this after your comment. I need someone like Ben to tell me it’s all ok from time to time (my BF, love him, but would never talk to him about blogging).
    Second, I love the line that numbers only matter to companies – SO TRUE! I think everyone needs to realize this one. I have seen people get really upset about their stats and that makes me sad.
    And hells yeah! Always looking for a blogging friend. I tried an ad on Craigslist but I only got a couple of creepers to reply. πŸ˜‰

    • Megan replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 8:17 am

      I’m so thrilled both of our “come to blogging-Jebus” blog posts seem to be resonating. You got a blogging friend in me! <- everytime i hear that line, I think of Toy Story and start singing the song. Now, to go find that damn DVD... my productivity is now shot.

  31. #
    Abby — October 4, 2012 @ 7:17 am

    I’m definitely there. I need a “this is supposed to be FUN” reminder all the time. I get so caught up in the comparison game and trying to be some kind of successful blogger when really…that’s not at all why I started. Le sigh.

    • Megan replied: — October 4th, 2012 @ 8:15 am

      It’s great to know that we all have those days, and we always know that we can pick eachother up when we have those days where our blogging just doesn’t seem to go just right. You have a cheering section – and i’ve got the pompoms!

  32. #
    Neesey — October 4, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    While reading your perspective the meltdown scene in “Julie and Julia” popped into my head, you know the one where she’s laying on the kitchen floor and I smiled, then I giggled then decided to comment. Your words were from the heart and that’s what sets you apart from some others. Life is real and sometimes we get overwhelmed due to the constant desire to get everything perfect. Even me, after years and years of making all different kinds of quick breads the last time I made zucchini bread it didn’t turn out the way I wanted. The next time the same thing happened making me question why I even grow zucchini in the first place? Why is this not working? Why why why? When I was younger I always called Auntie Bev for advice, always. Now I just chalk it up as “no worries, in 5 years who cares” (one of her lines). The bread was fine, I did good, the recipe was spot on, I didn’t goof up…the bread pans were bigger than my old crusty ones. It was all the pans fault. So what did I do? Dug around in the kitchen until I found my trusty dusty old pans and smiled like a little girl that had just found her favorite teddy. Life is good and my bread won’t be flat anymore, oh and no one at hunting camp will notice the loaves aren’t perfect so I fretted over nothing. Drive on and remember Auntie Bev’s “in 5 years” attitude, it works everytime.

  33. #
    Mai-Lis {A Sunshiny Day} — October 4, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    Wow, this was really great to read! So glad that someone I follow and look up to in the blogging world hits some of the same road blocks. I just started blogging this summer so it’s tough to kind of find your place in the whole thing when there is so much amazing stuff out there. I just remind myself that I am having fun documenting my culinary adventures and I try not get tied up in the stats (which can be depressing at times). I think even if 1 person tries a recipe they enjoy and find happiness in it, it’s all worth it!

    • Megan replied: — October 10th, 2012 @ 10:31 am

      Mai-Lis – I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! Keep up with the posting and all the chaos, writing, dirty dishes, and culinary experiments will be 110% worth it. πŸ™‚

  34. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — October 4, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

    I applaud you for writing such a thoughtful, honest and open post. It is so nice to know I’m not alone as I have felt so many of the same fears and feelings about my own blog! The door is always open and perhaps we can tackle this blogging life together sista!!! Xoxo

    • Megan replied: — October 10th, 2012 @ 9:57 am

      Thanks Liz!! I’m so glad that this post resonated with so many people. I hope we can tackle this blogging thing together. You’re a constant source of smiles and inspiration. XOXO!!

  35. #
    Reana — October 8, 2012 @ 7:28 am

    I just started blogging because I thought it would be fun as I started training for my first half marathon, I thought it would be cool to blog about it since I’ve never considered myself “a runner” but I quickly came to realize, I don’t know how to blog! I read others and become inspired, but don’t know how to do it myself! But it’s something I want to learn, all advice is welcome πŸ™‚

    • Megan replied: — October 10th, 2012 @ 9:50 am

      Reana, that’s so great to write about your training. It’s a slog at times and a great way to reach out to other bloggers and runners who have all done the same thing. Keep up with writing, it will become part of your routine, much like your training and you will inspire others as well as be inspired πŸ™‚ Good luck with it all!

  36. #
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — October 10, 2012 @ 7:17 am

    I totally and completely agree. Sometimes I find myself losing focus when I realize something I made didn’t turn out, and I start freaking out because of it. But I have to remind myself that this isn’t a competition, and if someone posts a genius idea that I later see and think “why didn’t I think of that!” I can’t be judge-y but rather, happy knowing I am working among so many creative, brilliant women like you! This puts it into perspective.

    Also, dangit, why didn’t I think of this? These are TOO. STINKIN. CUTE.

  37. #
    Jessie — October 12, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    What a great post. I think I breathed out a big sigh of relief as I was reading the entire post. A really, big, much-needed, breathy sigh ‘ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh’. Thanks for sharing!

  38. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — October 14, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    Thank you for this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been having a serious case of the blogging blues lately and have had to remind myself over and over why I do it. I’m glad I’m not the only one, and hun, your site it amazing…I come to it all the time and I freaking love it. I love the way you write, your recipes and photos and your strong, hillarious voice is adored by many!!

  39. #
    Severiana — October 16, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

    Do you think this would work with rice crispy treats?

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

      Oh yeah, it totally should!! Good luck and let me know how it turns out πŸ™‚ ~Megan


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